We had spent enough time on an inflatable mattress on Thom Collins’ floor, and it was time to head for the house we had rented in Miami Beach – a $2700 per week rental house we would be sharing with eight friends. Again, this place surpassed expectations. It was a giant house – there were three dining rooms – built in a Spanish Mission style, with arched ambulatories, plaster walls, and exposed beam ceilings. It had a pool surrounded by a tropical patio. It was right on the bay dividing the two halves of Miami Beach – and fish were frolicking in the calm water. The bedrooms were massive and luxurious. I felt it must have been like some baseball player’s house.
It was also a bit run-down, which I appreciated. The kitchen was dark and isolated and clearly meant for servants, and had not been updated into a modern entertainment space. Dust and dirt lurked in corners. There had apparently been a thirtieth birthday party there not long ago, as bits of “30!” confetti were still in the yard.
We found out the reason for the delapidation with a little internet search. The only thing that came up when we typed in the address was a story about a Drug Enforcement Agency bust which had taken place there, in which a substantial amount of drugs and half a dozen stolen cars had been possessed. I suppose the owner figured he should use the place for something while out of the country (or in jail).
There was also some impressively large animal who lived in the house, though no one ever saw him. The first night any food we left out got ransacked, and what appeared to be rodent droppings – though massive, perhaps twenty times the size of mouse droppings (about the size of rabbit poop, but oblong) – were on all food-related surfaces (counters and tables). It was a headache to deal with, but part of the adventure. And the place was an excellent base for exploring Miami Beach.